The Last Pickin’ will honor bluegrass fan Rex LocklarPublished 8:59pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Already, there is activity at Henderson Music Park in rural Pike County.
Old habits die hard for those who historically came early for Rex Locklar’s Bluegrass Festivals the second weekend in April and October.
So, it’s understandable that some campers have already claimed their spots for “The Last Pickin’ at Henderson,” which will officially get underway on Thursday.
Rex’s Bluegrass Festivals have been upbeat events for 48 years. But this year, it will be different, said Shelby Cargile.
“Rex’s death hit us all hard,” he said. “We knew that when the time came and Rex was no longer here, that would be the end of the bluegrass festivals at Henderson. And, how sad that would be. Well, this is the end. This festival will be ‘The Last Pickin’ at Henderson.’”
The bluegrass festival will open on Thursday and close Saturday night. There will be no charge for the campsites and no admission charge.
“We just want all of Rex’s friends and all the friends of bluegrass to come,” Cargile said. “We’re going to do the festival just like Rex would have done it. Folks can start pickin’ when they get here and feel like it. There’ll be pickin’ all over the place.”
At 10 a.m. Saturday, the traditional memorial service will be held in front of the old Henderson schoolhouse.
“Rex always had a memorial service for anyone who had died since the last festival,” Cargile said. “This time, we’ll remember ol’ Rex and another bluegrass friend that has died. And, we’ll dedicate a monument to Rex. He was the ‘Father of Bluegrass in Pike County’ and that will be set in stone.”
Time will be set aside so that anyone who wants to share a fond memory of Locklar will have the opportunity.
“Then, we’ll do like Rex did it and we’ll close the memorial service with two or three gospel songs,” Cargile said. “We’re going to encourage everyone to keep the music going all day long, in memory of Rex. We want to honor his memory by playing the music he loved.”
But, when the high lonesome sounds of bluegrass fade, only the memories of the good music and the good times among good friends will remain, Cargile said.
“We’re not ready for it, but it’s time for ‘The Last Pickin’ at Henderson.’”